While the first two books of the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny were mostly spent away from the titular Amber, Amber finally becomes the setting in Sign Of The Unicorn (1975). Obviously this means the continuous moving about is more limited. We have now arrived in the center of the story (as the first series takes five books and this is number three). The main character was in the beginning rarely in the company of several or all his family members but now we have them all together for the first time. It is now time for the main character to find out what really had been going on. While there is quite a bit of explaining the complexity of the story becomes greater as confusing events follow. The events are as always original and strong. It is the reason why Sign Of The Unicorn is probably my second favorite book of the series. This book really sets the stage of what Amber is all about.
There isn’t that much I can discuss more about this book. One of the other strong parts is that a number of family members that were only introduced lightly in the first two books now get more time to shine. Like the main character they almost become iconic. Still, as this is as always a short book, there is limited and time and space for a full coverage, but that is also part of keeping the mystery alive.
The first series of Amber shows its strength by providing no less than three strong and solid books in a row which leave the reader wanting for more. Each book provided its own settings and form their own whole, making each of them not be depending on main story. While the first two books had a nice conclusion to the story arcs Sign Of The Unicorn ends with a cliffhanger. It is just not a change in style but also caused by the fact that we have come to the central story of the books of Amber which cannot be split apart. Everything that happens is more related to each other than before.
Sign Of The Unicorn is not only the middle book of the first series but also a central book within the main story. The important characters are finally disclosed and we discover truths about the events started the great story about Amber. Certainly a must-read.